The Practicality Of Glass
Alright, so I’m fine with wearing a set of camera-equipped frames. Now what? So many Explorers have already professed their love for Glass, gushing that they won’t go another day without it.
How about a contrarian view? I see a world where Glass is ubiquitous. It easily becomes a primary hands-free interface with our smartphones. After all, even the Explorer Edition uses a combination of Bluetooth and tethered Wi-Fi to generate turn-by-turn directions, send dictated SMS messages, and place calls to any of 10 stored contacts. The thing is, I don’t need all of those functions every time I’m out. And I don’t snap a shot of every course I eat, either (though I do have to confess enjoyment in taking pictures of cars that cut me off in traffic as Glass’ reticles contract, target-acquired-style).
Video tends to be more situational. By default, Glass records 10 seconds at a time unless you tap, then tap again to Extend Video. Ten seconds is understandable given the impact on battery life. Admittedly, though, any arbitrary number makes it difficult to “time life.” More than once I started a recording in anticipation of an event, only to realize I’d be cut off before Glass could register my double-tap. I’m not sure there’s an easy solution to this.
At least for now, Glass’ place in my life is novel. It’s great for keeping your nose out of your phone, though the prism projector is really just a distraction in a different direction. In the animation below, you can see that both eyes look up to read the projected image, taking focus off of whatever is in front of you. Throughout the day, you’re going to put Glass on and then take it off when what you’re doing just isn’t relevant. And that’s where the funky form factor becomes unwieldy.
Enough cynicism, though. There are really awesome ways to use Glass, and I’m only two days in. Let’s say I’m in the lab, working on an upcoming platform review, and want to demonstrate to the Tom’s Hardware editors how to configure the latest version of our automated benchmark suite. I can “hang out with…” the staff, keep both hands free, and have them see what I’m doing from my perspective.
Or maybe, someday, I’m trying to teach my son Lucas how to ride a bike. I want to capture that moment. But I don’t want a smartphone in one hand and his handlebars in the other. Throw Glass on, interact with him naturally, and record it all. Glass is going to be a great way for parents to memorialize a lot of firsts without managing birthday parties, juggling Christmas presents, or trying to steady those first few steps while glancing over at a camera screen. This puts the moment in point-of-view, and it doesn’t create a spectator out of you. You remain a participant in life, and you get the tape when the action is over.